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Best of 2023

Various

Quartz Mirliton Cassettes 'Archive Recordings 1971-79' (2 Boxes: 16LP + 2 Books + CD)

Biggest Tip! Last copies... Quartz-Mirliton Cassettes has been among the most obscure of 1970s experimental music labels. This forthcoming VOD release, presented in two boxes, throws light on this mysterious cassette venture, its context and associated recordings. Closely associated with the London Musicians Collective, Quarz was launched by Paul Burwell and David Toop in 1977. Produced in tiny editions with handmade covers, the cassettes largely documented live sessions and field recordings made by a close network of improvising musicians, sound sculptors and sound poets then working with Burwell and Toop, including Bob Cobbing, Hugh Davies, Max Eastley, Evan Parker, Frank Perry, Steve Beresford and others. The manifesto of the label was uncompromising – recordings were mostly lo-fi and noises peripheral to the performance were left in because they affected the music when it was played and formed a part of its context.

Obscure as they were, these cassette releases from 1977 documented an intense burst of creative energy from within the London scene.  

Since their launch shortly after the outset of the new millennium, few labels working within the territories of the vinyl reissue and archival release, have reached the heights charted by Vinyl On Demand. Beyond the greatest quality and care embedded within their efforts - redefining the idea of deluxe, they have elevated countless remarkable and overlooked creative gestures from the shadows of history, entirely recalibrating the legacies of music which exists outside of mainstream interest, placing the diverse actions of the underground in conversation with each other.

Of all the releases compiled by the label in the last few years, this one is by some distance their biggest coup. It almost seems impossible, but for this wonderful Quartz box-set they have managed to raise their own incredibly high bar again.  

Details
Cat. number: VOD 177-3
Year: 2023